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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Burn One Down: Like Stupid Policies on Pot

Well, there you go. Some Yankee politicians are chatting up the necessity of abating the war on marijuana, saying that there is a difference between use of a drug and the abuse of a drug. When it affects your work, your life, and rearranges your priorities, it's abuse. When it's something you do to chill and relax and you know it has its place, and you're a contributing member of society, that's use.

I hate that, by smoking a joint, I'm labelled a "drug user", when I'm fucking better behaved on pot than I am on two glasses of wine. It's ridiculous. "Drugs", to me, are heroin and crack and cocaine and everything else out there. I won't touch them, never have, never will. I've never knowingly taken acid, wouldn't if it was offered.

The Carlos Castaneda fan in me and my penchant for all things native has always left peyote as a "Hmm, that'd be interesting" thing in my head, but I swear, it'd have to be the perfect alignment of events for me to go there. Like a Jim Morrison moment in the desert with some shaman holding my hand and a tribe doing a sundance in the distance under a brazen sun and my mother's ghost waving to me from stage left. But, yeah, that's gonna happen anytime soon? Right. It's on my "if the stars align, sure, I'll try it" list of to-do's in my lifetime, at best, but it's waaaaay down on the list, somewhere along with "riding in the space shuttle" and "camping in Mongolia".

But pot? A worldwide scourge? The plague of our times? Demon weed? Right. Sigh. Whatever.

I mean, I live in British Columbia. Worse, I live in Vancouver. For a while known as "Vansterdam" it's ostensibly been the "real" pot capital of the world, where the best dope comes from and is found everywhere. Then the Americans started cracking down and pressuring Vancouver to fight pot more.

When Senator Larry Campbell was in the Mayor's office, that was never a problem because, as a career cop, he knew that pot wasn't the scourge Americans wanted it to be; heroin was our problem, and had been for the last 20+ years. Being the first port from Asia, and a country with softer laws for traffickers, heroin lands here and at times can't get out for a while. Take a wrong turn downtown and you'll land on the Downtown East Side, where it's the highest urban rate of HIV/AIDS infections in the world, and 30 square blocks of some of the worst poverty on this continent. THAT's heroin for you. THAT's prostitution and theft that stems from needing to feed habits. We have a higher personal theft rate than NEW YORK CITY -- I assure you, addicts aren't stealing your fucking bicycle to pay for a dimebag of pot, okay?

I cycle home from work and I can tell you all the little places on the seawall cycling route that tonnes and tonnes of runners and cyclers duck into to smoke up on their route. It's hilarious. I used to feel all slackery, stopping to smoke dope on a ride, and then I realized I've been *so* not the exception, and some of the obvious health nuts out there who are doing the same just crack me up. This mentality that potsmokers only smoke up and sit on the couch couldn't be further from the truth in this city.

The city's not the same, though. Cops crack down on folks sometimes, you can't get away with it in venues as much as you once did. It's just silly. Stupid American politics really wreck the fun for everyone.

But the biggest problem has been that Sam Sullivan, our rather unpopular mayor who's been cut loose by his party and who's out of a job this fall, just bent over and took it from the DEA and anyone else who pressured him. "Why, Massa, it's such a shame you bin put out by ar policies, why sho' we can crack down a little -- can't have all y'all put out down there, now."

I mean, god, just because America's fucking dumb enough to still be waging a war on pot doesn't mean we should have to go there too.

I suspect that it's more that Sullivan, who seems to think HE won us the Olympics... (never mind all those people who worked behind the scenes on it for nigh on a decade before he duplicitously won the Mayor's seat and just happened to be in the office when the decision came down for Vancouver to be 2010 Central) ...just wanted to make sure the city was more of an Ikea catalog of perfection before the Olympics happened. You know, shuttle the homeless to New West, hide 'em in shelters that'll finally be open 24 hours a day so the public can't see the "lesser" peoples of our fair town, crack down on those evil vile potsmokers who get press around the world all the time, looking so sickeningly HAPPY with life -- because the rest of the world can relate to the problem with meth and heroin anyhow, and if you cordon off the Downtown East Side for those 10 February days in 2010, you can keep the tourists out of the Ugly Parts of Town.

So, you know, maybe if America gets their fucking priorities right, the asshat who takes office after Sullied Sam might also figure a fucking thing or two out, as well. We NEED to fix this heroin and meth problem. It is a world-class travesty that we have still failed to tackle this problem in a way that helps these people afflicted with the DISEASE of addiction. They're members of our society too, whether we want to forget about them or not. It's one of the biggest, most haunting social problems facing CANADA today -- up there with the huffing of gas by Native youngsters back east and the plague of crack addiction and police corruption in Winnipeg.

Heroin, meth, coke = problems. Pot = a smart way to keep the constituents happy.

Stupid, stupid, stupid politicians. Sigh. I'll be happy when those in power start fighting the wars that really need fighting, rather than inventing ones they think they can win (ie: Iraq, the war on pot, etc) because it looks better than fighting something that's possibly unwinnable, unconquerable, like, say poverty, destitution, true addiction, and marginalization... after all, the truly poor, destitute, addicted, and marginalized, have bigger worries on their hands than getting to polling booths on election day, no?

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